High levels of HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) have traditionally been linked to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, prompting the search for effective and safe HDL-C raising pharmaceutical agents. Although drugs such as niacin and fibrates represent established therapeutic approaches, HDL-C response to such therapies is variable and heritable, suggesting a role for pharmacogenomic determinants. Multiple genetic polymorphisms, located primarily in genes encoding lipoproteins, cholesteryl ester transfer protein, transporters and CYP450 proteins have been shown to associate with HDL-C drug response in vitro and in epidemiologic studies. However, few of the pharmacogenomic findings have been independently validated, precluding the development of clinical tools that can be used to predict HDL-C response and leaving the goal of personalized medicine to future efforts. © 2013 Expert Reviews Ltd.